Chapter 1 : Deals and the Fine Print
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Darcy by pheonixn @ TDA :)
Mirror on the wall, here we are again
Through my rise and fall,
you've been my only friend
So why are we talking to each other again
-Mirror, Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars
A shrill alarm cuts through my dream, pulling me back into reality. I roll over, pressing my face into my white pillow, attempting to shut the world out in vein.
Anything to get away from it all.
Sitting up, I draw my quilt tighter around me to lock in the warmth. As I look around my flat, rubbing some sleep from my left eye, memories flood back to the front of my mind.
I wish I had carpet. Maybe then getting up each winter morning would be easier. Oh who am I kidding, probably not. I'm just not a morning person.
Neither was he, really. Lazy mornings, getting up in the middle of the day. Laughing, talking, just lying in comfortable silence. All of that is gone.
A warm tear rolls along my cheek and I quickly swipe it away with the back of my hand. I am not going to cry over him anymore. Grabbing my wand off my bedside cabinet, I cast a quick warmth spell on the tiled floor. Bravely, I kick the covers back and slide my feet into my fluffy pink slippers and cross to my walk-in wardrobe on the other side of my room. My stylist will be here soon. Apparently I've got a 'big, big day' ahead of me.
I can't wait. (Sarcasm.)
Merlin save me now.
I drummed my fingers on my lap and leaned my head against the wall, sighing in frustration. I pulled my wand out of my bag and tapped it rhythmically on the arm of the chair. Lilac sparks showered to the floor.
Magic is so pretty.
I brushed non-existent dust off myself and smoothed down my hair. Nina told me to look my best today because she needed me to settle an important deal. I decided to wear my favorite black skinny jeans, a mustard button up sleeveless blouse and high-heeled ankle boots. Hopefully this fits her standards- last time I turned up to a meeting in a day dress and ballet-flats and she claimed I looked homeless.
I sighed again, impatiently tapping my foot now. You would think that being one of her five clients would mean she would try not to keep me waiting, but no, I don't get any special treatment from Nina Nixon. Usually when she makes me wait I threaten to walk but she just laughs. Nina is one of the most exclusive, most sought-after publicists in Wizarding London and no-one in their right mind would ever fire her.
"Ms Nixon will see you now," a snotty receptionist informed me. I nodded once in acknowledgment as she looked me up and down. I opened the door to Nina's office and closed it behind me once I was inside.
"Darcy, darling!" Nina exclaimed, standing up and holding me at arms length to examine me with a huge smile. "You look so gorgeous! I haven't seen you in years, darling! How long has it been? What? Four, five weeks?"
"Three days," I corrected with a sarcastic smile.
I decided to pretend to be mad in hopes that she'd throw in something extra for my benefit in this deal she needed me to settle.
I sighed, placing my hand on my hip. "You kept me waiting again, Nina. You know I don't like when you do that."
Nina rolled her eyes and waved me off, sitting behind her desk. I sat in one of the seats in front and crossed my legs.
"Oh hush, Darcy. You're eighteen, I'm- actually my age isn't important. What is important is that I'm the adult here and I am allowed to keep you waiting."
I sighed and picked at my black nail polish. Of course she won't listen to me. Why would she?
"Why am I here?" I sniffed.
"Well, well, well, something has certainly got your wand in a knot, missy. Do try and seem like a normal person when I introduce you to your business partner."
"Wait; business partner?" I asked, sitting up and dropping the bratty facade. That had caught my attention.
A sly smile spread across Nina's face. "Ah, now you're interested."
I nodded and waited for her to continue. What crazy plan had Nina formulated now? I used to think that she was the best publicist because if you crossed her she would blackmail you in a heartbeat, but now I'm beginning to wonder if it's because she always has a way to get into or out of any kind of scandal or publicity stunt.
If she tries to get me involved in another damn tv show, shit's gonna get real.
Earlier this year, she managed to get me a place on a international Muggle tv show. When I'd agreed to everything and was about to sign the contract she accidentally let slip that my character was a Russian prostitute. Lucky I was able to get of of that one before it started.
"Now, be nice Darcy. I'm going to call your business partner in now. I'm sure you'll know who he i-"
"He?!" I interrupted.
Nina sighed impatiently. "Yes, dear. Do try to keep up please." I rolled my eyes. "You will know who he is, he is quite well known. The ones from famous families always are."
"What is the deal, though? How am I involved?"
"Ah, we will discuss all that once we meet the young man whom you will work with." Nina lazily lifted her wand off the desk and flicked it at the door. I kept my eyes glued on her desk, refusing to acknowledge the newcomer to the office.
Knowing Nina, it will be someone I don't like. Someone I'll be forced or conned into working with.
"Hi," a male voice mumbled but I ignored it.
"Sit down, darling," Nina said, brandishing her arms like she did when I came in.
I looked up to meet her stern gaze. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a boy with dark hair, but that was about it. Not enough to recognize a person by.
Nina had said be was from a famous family though. Famous family… famous family...
Oh my Merlin, could it be Michael Wood, son of Oliver Wood? Or maybe it's one of the Shacklebolt twins! But then again, they are only twelve years old…
"Darcy, as you know, you're record sales have hit a low recently and you seem to be unable to get over this little speed-bump," Nina said and I felt my cheeks redden a little. Thanks for pointing out my failure, Nina. "I've been doing my research. What better way to bump up your image a bit than a publicity stunt? That's where Albus comes in."
Oh Merlin, a publicity stunt is a bad idea. I turned to face the boy next to me. I do, in fact, know who Albus Potter is. We were both in the same year at Hogwarts, in a few classes together, I think. We never really spoke though, what with me being a Slytherin and Albus being a Gryffindor.
"What do you mean when you say 'publicity stunt'? Good publicity or bad publicity?" I asked, leaning forward.
The majority of those stories you see about celebrity break-ups and hook-ups and all those scandals that make it to the front cover of Witch Weekly are all publicity stunts set up by publishers. I do not want some kind of 'baby-claim one-nighter' to be the boost to my career.
"Well," Nina began, leaning forward on her desk. "I figured people would suddenly take an interest in you again if one of the Wizarding World's hottest teen singers had a relationship with the son of The Boy Who Lived."
"Please do not call him that," Albus said, speaking clearly for the first time. "He has a name."
"Sorry, darling. But Darcy, I think your record sales would be through the metaphorical roof if you we're to date Albus here."
Albus and I exchanged wary glances. I don't even know if we'll get along, let alone be able to convince the public that we're in a relationship.
"So Darcy will become popular again," Albus stared, leaning his elbows on his knees and folding his hands under his chin, "but what's in it for me?"
Nina narrowed her eyes and drummed her fingers on the table. Clearly something was in it for Albus. He was one of her clients, too. I don't know why he needs a publicist, though. He does nothing other than wear the Potter name.
"All publicity is good publicity, Albus. You never know what opportunities may arise for the Wizarding World's power couple. Because, essentially, that is what you'll become."
He shrugged and leaned back against his chair, looking at me to see if I was up for it.
"What's the catch?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at Nina a little.
"No catch," she replied, but the look in her eyes told me otherwise. "You and Albus will act as a couple for one year."
I gulped. A year is a long time to fake a relationship a person. Especially when you may not even get along with said person.
Nina thought for a minute before answering. "Hmm… nothing really. I'm sorry, but neither of you can date anybody during this time period. You may not tell anyone other than immediate family. Do not, under any circumstances, let the meda find out."
She opened a draw in the side of her desk and pulled out a sheet of paper, covered in tiny writing. "If you can both sign on the line, the deal will be final."
Albus picked up the quill and dipped it in the emerald ink. Eyes skimming over the writing quickly, he scribbled his signature on the line at the bottom.
He passed me the quill but I was much more hesitant to sign than he was. I began to read the tiny writing but after about two words my eyes glazed over and I gave up. I scribbled 'Darcy Greengrass' next to Albus's name and placed the quill down.
"Excellent." Nina touched the paper with the tip of her wand and our signatures glowed sliver.
The only thing running through my mind was "Oh Merlin, what have I gotten myself into?"
Nina handed us two binders. Inside my binder was a semi-thick pad of paper. "These are your scripts for your first public appearance as a couple. Gaurd them with your lives."
Albus raised his eyebrows as he flicked through his. "When is 'our first public appearance' going to be?"
Nina smiled at him. "I believe your father is giving a speech on the steps of the Ministry, next week. Correct?" Albus nodded. "The place will be swarming with nosy paparazzi who will go crazy the minute Albus Potter and a girl try and slip away from the crowd to have a private conversation. You know how those parasites love to eavesdrop on anything that even suggests 'scandal'."
I nodded. "Sounds good, I guess."
"Excellent," Nina said again. She opened the desk draw that the script and contract had come from. She dangled some keys infront of us. "For your flat."
We just stared at her blankly.
"Have I taught you two nothing about reading the fine-print? For the course of this 'relationship' the two of you will be sharing a flat."
Oh no. I knew there would be something. The plan seemed too simple. Trust Nina to spring it on us like this though. I mean, we just agree to fake a relationship for a whole entire year, but then it's all "By the way, Darcy, you have to live with this randomer too! Yay!"
Sucks to be me right now.
"One last thing," Nina added, fishing through the drawer again. She leaned down until her shoulder was at the top. It must have an Undetectable Extension Charm or something on it.
"What now?" Albus muttered. I smiled at him weekly, which he kind of returned. I honestly felt bad. I mean, Nina's only doing this because nobody's been buying my albums for the past few months.
"A little flat-warming gift for you both! But don't open it until you're there!"
We forced smiles at her. "Thanks Nina. When do we er, move in?" I asked.
"Oh, straight away! When you leave here! All your things are in the process of being moved now, and the flat's fully furnished and fully stocked."
"What do you mean our stuff is being moved? How did you know we'd sign?"
"Ah, but I didn't. It's the power of the contract. The moment you sign, your clothes and personal belongings begin to ship themselves to your flat. Letters have been sent to your families, notifying them of the situation."
I snorted. Albus looked at me with a raised eyebrow but Nina didn't seem to notice anything.
"You'd better get going now if you'd like to beat the afternoon traffic! I would suggest you Floo, but we do not want ash and soot all over the brand new tiles, do we?"
"Then what do we do?" I asked, standing up.
"You apparate, of course." Nina handed us both a slip of paper with the address of the flat scrawled on it. "Travel safe, darlings."
She left her office, leaving Albus and I alone. "Look," I said, turning to him. "I'm not very confortable with apparation, so would you mind taking me by side-along? I just don't like to do it myself," I admitted.
"That's fine," Albus said, placing his hands on my shoulders. "You ready?" I closed my eyes and nodded.
I felt the ground disappear beneath me and for a few seconds I felt like a was weightless, but I was being compressed. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
I opened my eyes. Albus and I were standing in a living room. The first thing I noticed is that everything- and I mean everything- is white. The couch, the tiles, the coffee table, the shaggy carpet under the coffee table. Even the television was white.
I looked around, dropping my hand bag on the couch. I turned to look at Albus, who was taking in everything too.
This place was huge.
"Oh," I said suddenly, clapping my hand to my mouth.
"Did we forget Nina's thingo?"
"It's here." Albus lifted up the large oval which was covered in white tissue paper. He joined me on the couch and placed it on the coffee table. "You can do the honours."
I leaned forward and tore all the paper away. Nina's gift was an oval shaped mirror with a white ornate frame. We stared at it for a moment.
"Where do we put it?" I asked Albus.
"For the love of Merlin, not the bedroom."
Albus and I stared at each other in shock, slowly turning to look at the mirror.
"A nice spot on the lounge room wall would suffice," it said.
I cannot believe Nina gave us a talking mirror as a house-warming gift. Sometimes that woman has no idea.
"Did it just-" Albus said.
He picked it up and carried it to the empty wall.
"You're doing it the hard way," I called.
"I'm doing it the only way," he replied. I shook my head and pulled my wand out of my handbag.
Swish and flick.
The mirror flew out of Albus's arms and hovered in the air in front of him. He sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck and I smirked.
"Is there anything to hang it on?"
"Yeah," he replied. "There is a nail here."
I flicked my wand towards the wall and the mirror settled on the nail.
"Ah," it sighed. "That's the spot."
I tie my hair in a loose ponytail and pull on some sweats. I don't bother with makeup because my stylist will be here soon and she'll just have to wash it all off anyway. I don't know why I'm bothering, though. I don't want to go tonight. Not when he's going to be there and we'll have to act like a happy couple.
I head into the kitchen and pull open the white fridge. I grab a bottle of water from the door and take a sip.
Do I do it and regret it later or do I not do it and wish I did.?
Ah, screw it. I'm gonna do it.
I nearly run to the lounge room. I think when she gave it to us, Nina knew. I think she knew that I'd need someone or something to talk to. Just to get things off my chest. At the time I thought it was a stupid gift but now I am thankful. But then again, it's the only thing we shared left in the flat. It holds the strongest memories.
I decide I don't care and I yank off the black sheet covering my reflection. As soon as the sheet is gone, the mirror wakes up.
"Well, well. If it isn't Darcy Greengrass. I thought you'd forgotten about me."
I smile. "It has been a long time, hasn't it," I say in a small voice.
"Where have you been, sweetheart?"
I frown at the patronizing nickname. The mirror is mocking me yet again.
"I think I remember why I stopped talking to you."
"I think I remember being the only one here for you too, sweetheart."
I close my eyes as a fresh tear drips down my cheek. Stupid mirror.
"I didn't mean to make you cry," it says to me quietly.
"Sure you didn't," I sniff sarcastically.
"Talk to me, Darcy. Talk to me like you used to. What went wrong?"
"I don't know what you mean," I lie.
"Sure you do."
I do. I really do. "I don't want to talk about it. I have to go get ready now anyway. Bye, Mirror."
"Wait, Darcy! Please don't c-"
It's too late. The mirror's cry is cut off as I throw the sheet back over it. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk to anyone or anything. All I want to do is hide in my bed and sleep for days.
Maybe then I can wake up and all of this will have been one crazy, twisted dream.
Wooohhh, new story :) Eheh
Quick disclaimer: I own nothing but Darcy and Nina. I don't own Harry Potter (even though I wish I did.)
I hope you guys like it! [Also, in case you're a bit confused, the parts written in present tense are what is actually happening, and the parts written in past tense are memories. I didn't want to italic the memories or else I'll be italicing the majority of the chapter haha] Darcy's character will become a bit clearer next chapter too! The story does get better haha.
One last thing- I hate POV labels, so when I get chapter images, the chapter image will be of who's POV the chapter is in.
Please leave a review or add to favourites or whatever!!
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